With serious dog attacks, sometimes fatal, becoming more frequent across the UK, John Veale of Kangs Solicitors comments upon the relevant law.
The Legislation | Kangs Criminal Offence Advisory Team
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (‘the Act’) provides that:
‘a dog shall be regarded as dangerously out of control on any occasion on which there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will injure any person (or assistance dog), whether or not it actually does so.’
‘dangerously out of control’
A dog is considered dangerously out of control if it:
- injures someone
- makes someone worried that it might injure them
and a court may decide that a dog is out of control if:
- it attacks someone’s animal
- the owner of an animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop their animal being attacked.
Changes to the Act in 2014 extended liability to cover incidents which:
- take place on private property meaning a home, front and back garden
- involve an assistance dog
Penalties For Breach | Kangs Criminal Defence Team
Following the changes to the Act in 2014 the maximum prison sentences are now up to:
- fourteen years for a fatal dog attack
- five years for injury
- three years if an assistance dog is attacked.
Animal Welfare Minister Lord de Mauley said:
‘Dog attacks can have horrific consequences for victims and families and it is only right those responsible should face tougher penalties’.
How Can We Assist? | Kangs National Criminal Defence Team
The sentences for a conviction under the Act are, as indicated above, very serious.
If arrested for any such offence you should seek immediate assistance from a Solicitor.
At Kangs Solicitors we have a highly experienced team who can deal with all aspects of crime, including the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, such as the destruction of a dog, which can affect you in ways that you had not foreseen.
All necessary steps are taken to ensure our client is properly guided and fully advised from the Police Station process through to trial and we are happy to provide our clients with an initial no obligation consultation.
If you have recently been contacted by the Police please contact our team immediately through any of the following: